Devastated organisers say some fringe events and the MFDF awards are still on
Manchester Food and Drink Festival 2020 has been postponed and will be replaced by a new event in April 2021.
It was supposed to be the first major festival to take place in the city centre since the COVID-19 crisis began. MFDF organisers have spent the last few months organising a packed calendar of events (all socially distanced of course) to celebrate our vibrant hospitality scene in what has been its most challenging year yet.
The health and wellbeing of our residents has to be our first priority.
The 23rd annual festival was supposed to take place from 24th September to 5th October 2020 with headline sponsor by food delivery service Just Eat. The organisers' other main city centre event, Festa Italia which was supposed to be held in July was also cancelled this year.
The free to enter Festival Hub was due to start setting up in Cathedral Gardens with a new layout and operational systems designed to ensure the event is COVID-safe and secure. Organisers had also invested in a brand new app to help streamline easy socially distanced ordering and payment.
However, some of the festival's fringe events will still be going ahead. See the MFDF website for details.
Devastated Manchester Food and Drink Festival organisers have just released a statement:
"Unfortunately, in light of the latest advice we've been given by the city's public health teams we have, in partnership with Manchester City Council, taken the very difficult decision to postpone this year's Manchester Food and Drink Festival Hub event on Cathedral Gardens.
"We're hugely disappointed, but obviously safety is our key concern and we have decided to postpone the festival until next April (1st - 11th). We would like to thank Manchester City Council for their continued support and also all the businesses who have worked so hard on this year's event.
"All table reservations will be refunded, or can be rolled over to next year. The events happening in restaurants and our fringe activity in Urmston are still scheduled to go ahead, and have our full support, as does our wonderful hospitality industry who we will continue to celebrate.
"The Manchester Food and Drink Festival Awards will go ahead ‘virtually’ as planned so we encourage everyone to vote via the MFDF website and app. Information and updates will continue to be shared via our app, social channels and website. We are obviously gutted to be postponing but we'll be back bigger and better in 2021."
Councillor Luthfur Rahman, Executive Member for Skills, Culture and Leisure for Manchester City Council, said:
“It is deeply disappointing that this year’s Manchester Food and Drink Festival has been postponed. In a city famed for its events there was a genuine sense of excitement and anticipation in the run up to the festival. However, as we have always said the health and wellbeing of our residents has to be our first priority. After discussions with our partners in MFDF and our public health teams the decision was taken to move the festival into 2021.
“Credit has to go to the organisers and vendors who planned to take part this year for their determination to create an event to be proud of, but as we have shown throughout this year Manchester can and will build back stronger. Manchester’s cultural scene is second to none and I look forward to a time when we can all come together again.”
The (virtual) Manchester Food & Drink Festival Awards are still going ahead though because organisers feel that the local hospitality industry deserved to be recognised for the resilience and effort they have shown over the past year.
See the full shortlist here and get voting before the deadline.